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A politician, a dentist and a sex offender walk into a house.
Sounds like a joke, but it's actually the start of Delegate Joe Morrissey's first scandal since returning to elected office. As to punch lines, there are many.
Last October, Janet and Oswald Roberts filed a lawsuit against Morrissey alleging that he manipulated their son, registered sex offender Berkley Alexander, into tricking them into signing the Franconia house so he could use the equity to pay back money he embezzled from Morrissey.
The Roberts' allege Morrissey is hiding his assets from creditors by having a friend, dentist Kenneth Stoner, hold the house in his name. Alexander is also named as a defendant in the suit.
The house, a modest rancher at 8402 Franconia Road, right at the intersection of two pending lawsuits, also has the distinction of being listed as Morrissey's residence when he filed papers with the State Board of Elections to launch his successful bid for the 74th district seat in the House of Delegates.
In January, Morrissey sued the Roberts' right back. Alexander was an employee of Morrissey's and in his suit alleges that "as a result of his employment and position of trust, defendant Alexander had sole and exclusive [sic] access to the business funds of plaintiff."
Alexander, who has previous embezzlement and perjury charges against him, admits taking some of Morrissey's money, and now Morrissey wants $1.35 million in damages. But Alexander's parents allege in their suit that leaving money with their son was yet another example of Morrissey shielding assets.
In addition to admitting to taking money, Alexander also admits in court documents that he lied to his parents about the house, telling them that a document they were signing would add his name to the deed, when in fact it transferred the property to him entirely.
Alexander then gave the house to Morrissey's associate, Stoner, for free. Alexander and Stoner both claim the deed transfer was to help pay back the money owed to Morrissey.
Fun fact: Both deeds were prepared by the same attorney, Richard Knapp. He is also defending Morrissey in a third suit against allegations that he owes an investment bank over $100,000 in loan payments and late fees.
Morrissey declined to comment when reached by phone.
No court date has been set in the matter of the house, as the entire Henrico Circuit Court bench has recused itself and the Supreme Court is yet to appoint a judge to preside.